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Elie Wiesel plays the Holocaust trump card in Gaza

Israel/Palestine
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Elie Wiesel (Photo: AP/Bebeto Matthews)

Elie Wiesel (Photo: AP/Bebeto Matthews)

This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, it does. I’m not thinking about the actual war in Gaza – that’s bad enough.

It’s the Jewish civil war over Israel, a civil war that includes both sides appealing to non-Jews and American foreign policy.

Of course, it’s also about the Holocaust, that vast swathe of traumatized Jewish identity that keeps breaking open even as Israel’s occupation regime and war machine go haywire.

The veterans of Holocaust discourse are older now, all in their eighties, but periodically they’re trotted out to support Israel – especially when there isn’t any viable way of doing so.

Call it the Holocaust trump card. Elie Wiesel’s wild.

Elie Wiesel can’t help himself. If he hasn’t debased himself and his cause enough on the subject of Israel in recent years, his latest is a stunner.

Teaming up with Shmuley Boteach, a rabbi whose book on Kosher sex made a splash some years ago and has been gaming right ever since, Wiesel has just penned a paid statement making the rounds of major newspapers and other media outlets.

Wiesel’s theme? “Jews rejected child sacrifice 3,000 years ago. Now it’s Hamas’ turn.”

The theme is a play on God’s command to sacrifice Isaac. With Israel’s invasion of Gaza, God’s last minute decision to let Isaac live doesn’t work at all.

The press release lays out Wiesel’s campaign:

New York, NY August 1, 2014 – In a stirring advertising campaign organized by Rabbi Shmuley’s organization, This World: The Values Network, which seeks to disseminate universal Jewish values in politics, media, and culture as well as defend the State of Israel, Nobel Peace Laureate, Elie Wiesel, invokes the story of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac to frame the modern conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Wiesel states that though Abraham lifts his knife to sacrifice his own son Isaac, his hand is stayed by God’s own command, thereby rejecting child sacrifice forever. He added that, “Jews rejected child sacrifice 3500 years ago. Now it’s Hamas’ turn.” Prof. Wiesel argues that while the suffering of those in Gaza is immense and a true tragedy, the blame lies solely with Hamas who use children as human shields and stores rockets and ammunitions in nurseries, schools, hospitals, and family homes.

Wiesel’s autobiographical classic, Night, has been read by millions. It’s required reading for vast numbers of American school children. Night’s new translation even received Oprah’s seal of approval.

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(Click to enlarge)

But the Jewish establishment doesn’t seem to get it. Playing the Holocaust trump card isn’t working anymore. Few respond to their Holocaust pleadings as they did almost reflexively decades ago.

Call it cognitive dissonance – using Jewish suffering as a rallying call while Jews causing suffering to others in the name of that suffering is too confusing for most folks. Say the Holocaust and people think Gaza. It isn’t a comparison. It’s a deep revulsion to violence in the name of innocents suffering.

The problem is the news that keeps coming from Israel. Israel’s bombing of residential areas, hospitals and UN schools and shelters is international news. In Gaza, even after Israel’s proclaimed “withdrawal,” the death toll mounts. Among the dead are children sacrificed for Israel’s obvious goal – to deny Palestinians statehood, their political and human rights, which include the right to resist occupation.

The question for Elie Wiesel and the Jewish establishment is not about Abraham’s binding of Isaac – a treasure trove for interpreters of all types – but how many Palestinians children in Gaza will be sacrificed on the altar of Israel’s national security.

If God stayed Abraham’s knife, who will stay Israel’s?

Marc H. Ellis
About Marc H. Ellis

Marc H. Ellis is Professor of History and Jewish Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of the Global Prophetic. His latest book is Finding Our Voice: Embodying the Prophetic and Other Misadventures.

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84 Responses

  1. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    August 4, 2014, 10:15 am

    So jews sacrificed kids? Isnt that antisemtic?

    This is how psycohpaths approach hard times, they blame the victim. Just like the just arrested rapist.

    • atime forpeace
      atime forpeace
      August 4, 2014, 4:56 pm

      In the Old Testament book of Jeremiah in chapt 7 it says that Israel sacrificed their children in the fire.

      30 For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the Lord: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it.

      31 And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.

      • OldFatherWilliam
        OldFatherWilliam
        July 15, 2016, 9:21 pm

        That wasn’t “Israel,” atime forpeace. That was Judah. It says so. The tribes of Judah, most of the tribe of Benjamin and some of the Levites seceded from Israel in 940 BC to form the kingdom of Judah. Then Egypt and Babylon conquered Judah in successive wars. The leaders of Judah were carried off into 70 years of slavery until Persia conquered Babylon and set them free. Some opted to return to Judah but many chose to stay in Babylon, starting the “diaspora.”
        .
        Jeremiah was written before Ezra, so there is no mention of Jews yet, just Judah.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 15, 2016, 11:49 pm

        “That wasn’t “Israel,” atime forpeace. That was Judah.”

        NOW you tell us? Where were you in 2014?

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        July 16, 2016, 3:51 am

        The terms ‘Judah’ and ‘Jews’ are strongly connected – clearly enough in II Kings 18 where Rabshakeh addresses the people of Jerusalem ‘in the Jews’ language”.
        Israel Finkelstein, the leading archaeologist of modern Israel, has made popular the idea that King Josiah of Judah c.620 BCE fabricated the idea that there had once been a united monarchy combining the the regions of Judah and Israel, which in reality had long been distinct – this in aid of his plans to take over the former territories of the Israelite kingdom based in Samaria. Shlomo Sand is sceptical about all that.

      • Shmuel
        Shmuel
        July 16, 2016, 5:12 am

        MHughes,

        There is no reason to translate יהודית in 2 Kings 18 (and Isaiah 36) “the Jews’ language”. It simply means Judaean, i.e. the language of Judaea/Judah. Cf. Nehemiah 13:24.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        July 16, 2016, 11:22 am

        Shmuel: what was the language that the people spoke? Did the people of Jerusalem, the prime city of Judea, not speak Judean?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 16, 2016, 12:40 pm

        “The terms ‘Judah’ and ‘Jews’ are strongly connected – clearly enough in II Kings 18”

        Well, you ought to know, and I’ll take your word for it.
        I only passed my Scripture Knowledge exam by dint of a list of “begats” surreptitiously inscribed on my shirt-cuffs.

      • Shmuel
        Shmuel
        July 16, 2016, 2:45 pm

        what was the language that the people spoke? Did the people of Jerusalem, the prime city of Judea, not speak Judean?

        Exactly my point, Yonah. The KJV translation “the Jews’ language” is unnecessary and the distinction contrived: yehudit is quite simply the language of yehudah.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        July 16, 2016, 4:45 pm

        I’m no doubt too much influenced by many thunderous Rabshakeh readings from the KJV in my childhood – I and II Kings have always meant a lot to me, positively and negatively, though I never went as far as Mooser – and some PG Wodehouse heroines, as I recall – in concealing Begats about my person.
        The Rabshakeh passage, appearing twice, in II K and Isaiah and maybe not original in either text, must have been regarded as very important theologically. Matthew Henry c. 1710, still regarded very highly in conservative Protestant circles, suggested that it marked the appropriation by Isaiah in ch. 36 of what had been in ch. 19 ‘the language of Canaan’ to the area around Jerusalem. We would more likely think of appropriation by later editors and would note the disgust shown in ch.28 for the Ephraimite upper class accent, which sounds like drunken muttering. But surely the theological purpose must include validating the special, though by some contested, continuity between those people regarded as Yehudim/Ioudaioi in the post-exilic context and the people of the lost Kingdom in whose beautiful Temple God had touched the world?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 16, 2016, 7:03 pm

        “PG Wodehouse heroines.”

        And heroes. He used it twice,that I recall. An argument between Bishops, over the proper number of orphreys on a chasuble escalated to accusations of irregularities in ordination examinations.

  2. Marnie
    Marnie
    August 4, 2014, 10:20 am

    Incredible filth coming from this jerk and shill for the extreme right plus his little piggy schmuely, “america’s rabbi”. A calculated and deliberate ploy to convince every idiot on the planet that the palestinians are sacrificing their children to do a couple of things (my humble opinion):
    1) Densensitize and destigmatize the deaths of Palestinian children (I mean, it’s their culture, right?)
    2) To continue to indescriminately slaughter this people (we’re not killing them, they’re doing it to themselves).
    3) To make us all as crazy as they are ? “Just keep the lie going…………..”

    • ezra greenberg
      ezra greenberg
      August 4, 2014, 4:13 pm

      If God stayed Abraham’s knife, who will stay Israels? Good question!!! Hamas can stay it simply by ceasing the rocket fire. No rockets, no retaliation, no bloodshed (for both sides). I keep having to repeat this because it does not seem to be sinking in or there are some slow learners out there. Not too complicated. Should I repeat it more slowly?

      • annie
        annie
        August 5, 2014, 10:40 am

        Should I repeat it more slowly?

        no, you should internalize the response so we don’t have to keep repeating it. http://mondoweiss.net/2014/08/brief-respite-gaza.html/comment-page-1#comment-697878

      • AaronAarons
        AaronAarons
        August 5, 2014, 5:33 pm

        So, if a colonized and brutalized people resist that colonization with some (unfortunately insufficient) violence, the colonizers have an excuse to continue killing the children of the colonized?

        The “blood libel” isn’t a libel any more, because it’s true!

  3. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    August 4, 2014, 10:20 am

    Would someone please ask him about the Hannibal Directive?

  4. Pixel
    Pixel
    August 4, 2014, 10:25 am

    Thanks for this, Marc. Your best yet.

  5. eGuard
    eGuard
    August 4, 2014, 10:31 am

    Remember, Elie Wiesel did not get his Nobel prize for literature (fiction nor factual, as you can read). He is on that other list with Peres and Obama.

  6. Donald
    Donald
    August 4, 2014, 10:32 am

    Time for another link to one of the last sensible columns Christopher Hitchens ever wrote–

    Wiesel words

    • amigo
      amigo
      August 4, 2014, 10:57 am

      Thanks Donald.

      That was before Hitchens lost his way.

    • DaveS
      DaveS
      August 4, 2014, 12:11 pm

      Thanks for the link, Donald. The column is great, and shows that Hitchens’s output from 9/11 to his death was such a precipitous decline in reason and simple human decency. He was quite good on this subject for many years until he seemingly turned on a dime.

      • Donald
        Donald
        August 4, 2014, 1:07 pm

        Yeah, I think it was a combination of a desire to play George Orwell and denounce the far left and incidentally boost his career to the highest point it could reach. He wanted to think he was a daring intellectual while telling the powerful in his own society exactly what they wanted to hear. It worked. I remember the Atlantic during the period immediately after 9/11 referring to him as an honest honorable man of the left. In other words, he spat on his former friends.

  7. August 4, 2014, 10:40 am

    The Jewish religion engaged in child sacrifice at one point in time?

    Isn’t Wiesel guilty of “blood libel” for writing such a thing?

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      August 4, 2014, 10:03 pm

      “The Jewish religion engaged in child sacrifice at one point in time?”

      Hey, take it easy, the kid wasn’t harmed. And he knew what could happen if he wasn’t good little boy, which made him more of a mensch.
      Hey, Biblical child-rearing methods, what can I say? Dr. Spock hadn’t come along yet.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        August 5, 2014, 7:36 am

        Reminds me of the joke of the Jewish kid who was pulled out of public school where he misbehaved and put in a Catholic school, where his behavior became spotless. What changed you? he was asked. “I looked up at the wall and saw what they did to the last Jewish kid who misbehaved.”

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        August 5, 2014, 12:14 pm

        Yawn.

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        August 6, 2014, 8:57 am

        Why do some people who reject Yeshua, want to claim him as one of their own because of his death? It is entirely revolting. I’m very tired of hearing jokes about Jesus, you self-hating antisemite!

  8. DoubleStandard
    DoubleStandard
    August 4, 2014, 10:52 am

    This article is pretty offensive. What you really ought to be condemning is people comparing the Israeli government to Hitler, not a Nobel Laureate who lived through the greatest tragedy in the history of the Jewish people. The fact that people like you believe that the Holocaust is ancient history and not relevant to the contemporary Jewish condition is in itself evidence of the need for a strong Jewish state.

    • michelle
      michelle
      August 4, 2014, 4:23 pm

      .
      which holocaust
      ww2 the one that included Jews
      (lest we forget it wasn’t just Jews)
      .
      is the suffering of the Jews the only suffering
      this is how the world seems to be directed
      to feel through media political policies and more
      .
      it’s plain that many people don’t buy it
      among these are a great many Jews
      life is often hard on every and all
      .
      Life’s too short, to clean my plate
      to make an appointment, then have to wait
      To explain to those who choose not to see,
      that hate will never set them free
      To miss a second of the peaceful calm,
      that comes to those who can move on

      Peace to all who love and share
      there’s more of us than them, out there
      .
      G-d Bless
      .

    • just
      just
      August 4, 2014, 5:06 pm

      Thanks so much for your opinion. Your ‘name’ really suits you.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 4, 2014, 10:05 pm

        “Thanks so much for your opinion. Your ‘name’ really suits you.”

        Actually I call that one the “Rip Van Winkel Hasbarist” He woke up spouting twenty-year-old Hasbara.

    • eljay
      eljay
      August 4, 2014, 10:25 pm

      >> The fact that people like you believe that the Holocaust is ancient history and not relevant to the contemporary Jewish condition is in itself evidence of the need for a strong Jewish state.

      The just and moral response to injustice has always been justice and accountability.

      Never has the just and moral response to injustice been the creation of an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State” in Palestine.

      Not when the Holocaust was unfolding, not today, not ever.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      August 5, 2014, 4:51 am

      ” people like you believe that the Holocaust is ancient history and not relevant to the contemporary Jewish condition”

      So the Holocaust, which ended in 1945, is still relevant. But we keep getting told that the Nakba, which started in 1947 and hasn’t ended, is ancient history, and that the Palestinians should just get over it and move on.

    • Marnie
      Marnie
      August 5, 2014, 12:25 pm

      The israeli government is more and more third reich-like so, as repulsive as the reference is, it should make you wonder WTF is going on in the state of israel to make so many people see the obvious similarities, instead of telling them to shut up about it. I think there are plenty of russians, poles, italians, french, english, americans, gypsies, catholics and germans, etc., who also lived through one of the many greatest tragedies in human history (WWII?) and would have plenty to tell you about it. Don’t expect the rest of the world to turn a blind eye when the state of israel, trying to speak for jews everywhere, are commiting the greatest tragedy in the history of the Palestinian people.

  9. Stephen Shenfield
    Stephen Shenfield
    August 4, 2014, 11:08 am

    Does the story of Abraham and Isaac really reject human sacrifice? Its main message, after all, is that a God-fearing person should at least be willing to sacrifice his child at God’s command. Whether the sacrifice is consummated is up to God, not man. Real rejection requires a resolute refusal by human beings that does not depend on God’s intentions and wishes.

    Anyway, the top brass of the IDF do clearly believe in human sacrifice and practice it on a large scale. They sacrifice not only Arabs but even “their own people.” A case in point is the notorious “Hannibal directive,” which commands the IDF to thwart enemy capture of an Israeli soldier alive at any cost, even if that means killing the captive. The purpose is to prevent recurrence of the situation in which pressure from the Jewish Israeli public forces the government to negotiate a prisoner exchange, release a large number of Palestinian prisoners, and then go to all the trouble of arresting them again, wasting valuable time, effort, and resources.

  10. American
    American
    August 4, 2014, 11:15 am

    Wiesel is ultimate zionism.
    Any questions left about why Zionism should be demonized out of existence?

    • In2u
      In2u
      August 4, 2014, 3:39 pm

      “Any questions left about why Zionism should be demonized out of existence?”

      Nope

  11. mijj
    mijj
    August 4, 2014, 11:32 am

    The Rapist Mindset:

    She has what i want, but she won’t let me simply do as i will. She’s defending herself, so i have to beat and kill her. It’s her fault. If she didn’t fight back i wouldn’t have to be brutal. She’s making me do this terrible thing. If she just let me do as i will, i wouldn’t need to be brutal. She’s the one bringing out my brutality, so she’s the one that’s evil. And I’m the innocent victim. Look everybody! .. Look at the terrible things this woman is making me do! She’s a monster!

    • valfulford
      valfulford
      August 4, 2014, 8:57 pm

      You nailed it! All the defensive talk, sounds exactly as you’ve described. Another analogy could be made of the wife beater who kills his wife when she tries to leave him, after years of subjugating her, humiliating her and defiling her.

    • can of worms
      can of worms
      August 5, 2014, 4:30 am

      @mijj:

      Astute. The difference is that the rapist’s excuse is free, while Israel’s manufacture of excuses costs tons of money poured on a nonstop basis into the media, news networks, the congress, diplomatic missions, public relations firms, revolving doors, subway ads, million-dollar speakers, presidential campaigns, mayoral campaigns, gala events, printing houses, evangelicals, universities, UN bodies, all-expenses-paid trips, and so on.

      “She doesn’t love her own human dignity as much as she hates me” is a cultural production that costs lots of money.

    • Marnie
      Marnie
      August 5, 2014, 12:27 pm

      That’s the best analogy, unfortunately, but it is clear and easily understood. Thanks –

    • weindeb
      weindeb
      August 29, 2014, 5:21 pm

      Nicely stated.

  12. mijj
    mijj
    August 4, 2014, 11:34 am

    interesting piece here (link below) that suggests Zionism is an Anglo-Saxon construct projected into Judaism as a tool for Anglo-Saxon imperialism. (The Jewish diaspora, infected with Zionism, transforms the diaspora into a tool of Anglo-Saxon imperialism) .. plus, suggests, the first germs of proto-Zionism issued from Cromwell after the English Civil War.

    Who is the Enemy?
    http://www.voltairenet.org/article184973.html

    • MHughes976
      MHughes976
      August 4, 2014, 5:42 pm

      Cromwell’s intellectual predecessor was Sir Henry Finch MP, a distinguished lawyer and competent Hebraist, whose book ‘The Great Restauration’ was published in 1621. This is the first book length proto-Zionist work that I’ve been able to identify, though it seems that the Oxford Hebrew teachers had been moving in that direction for some decades. I have a feeling, though I have never been able to verify it, that Finch inspired some of the Puritan colonies in America, particularly those towns named Salem.
      The main political movement within Judaism at the time, Sabatianism, had a very great effect but was perhaps more directed at divine intervention re-establishing Jewish primacy over all the nations, rather than a renewed Jewish kingdom in Palestine. I believe, subject to correction, that Sabatai Zvi, perhaps a rather charming charlatan, distributed titles to his followers on the occasion circa 1665 when he burst into the synagogue of Smyrna, brushing the normal leaders aside – and that one of these titles was ‘Roman Emperor’, which perhaps indicates wider territorial ambitions even than those of Netanyahu.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 4, 2014, 10:08 pm

        MHughes, the roster of distinguished “Jewish Leaders” is filled with men like Mr. Zvi

  13. Another Steve
    Another Steve
    August 4, 2014, 11:49 am

    Wiesel states that though Abraham lifts his knife to sacrifice his own son Isaac, his hand is stayed by God’s own command, thereby rejecting child sacrifice forever.

    Not forever, if we are to accept the Biblical account.

    In Judges 11, Jephthah the Gileadite sacrifices his daughter to the Lord as a burnt offering. Unlike in the better-known tale of Abraham and Isaac, the Lord does not raise his hand to stop.

    It doesn’t surprise me that Wiesel doesn’t know his Tanakh, but you’d think that Rabbi Shmuley ought to know this stuff.

    • piotr
      piotr
      August 4, 2014, 4:42 pm

      Daughters barely qualified as humans in Torah.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      August 4, 2014, 10:11 pm

      “In Judges 11, Jephthah the Gileadite sacrifices his daughter to the Lord as a burnt offering.”

      They could deal with troublesome daughters in those days! Hey, wasn’t her Mom, the gal who pounded tent-spikes into people’s heads, if she got PO’ed?

  14. Kathryn
    Kathryn
    August 4, 2014, 12:04 pm

    Chris Hedges: “The lesson of the Holocaust is not that Jews are special. It is not that Jews are unique. It is not that Jews are eternal victims. The lesson of the Holocaust is that when you have the capacity to halt genocide, and you do not, no matter who carries out that genocide or who it is directed against, you are culpable. And we are very culpable …”

  15. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    Maximus Decimus Meridius
    August 4, 2014, 12:08 pm

    ”Wiesel’s autobiographical classic, Night, has been read by millions.”

    Arent’ there serious doubts as to just how ‘autobiographical’ ‘Night’ really is?

  16. Qualtrough
    Qualtrough
    August 4, 2014, 12:24 pm

    It is simply astounding, and absolutely disgusting that Wiesel and other Zionists are supporting the killing of children and then blaming the victims. Have they no shame?

  17. Nevada Ned
    Nevada Ned
    August 4, 2014, 12:44 pm

    Wiesel endorsed Joan Peters’ ridiculous book, From Time Immemorial, which purported to show that there weren’t any Palestinians. Wiesel wrote a blurb for the book. When asked about that now, Wiesel refuses to answer. This from someone who is forever droning on about the importance of “memory”.

    Wiesel’s memory is quite selective. He remembers the Holocaust but denies the Nakba. Wiesel was a member of Menachem Begin’s terrorist Irgun. As far as I know, Wiesel didn’t actually shoot anybody, but served the cause as a journalist and propagandist. He’s still a propagandist.

    Why anyone takes him seriously as a moralist is beyond me. He’s a horrible hawk.

    His last name ought to be pronounced “Weasel”!

    • weindeb
      weindeb
      August 29, 2014, 5:32 pm

      It’s amazing, sadly so, that the Joan Peters pseudo-academic study, From Time Immemorial, thoroughly debunked by real research academicians, still has legs, with such dangerous and racist stupidities as Palestinians are a made-up, ersatz people, not at all for real, and are thus Übermenschen, insects worth of nothing more than contempt replacement.

      • weindeb
        weindeb
        August 29, 2014, 5:33 pm

        Oops, should have been “worthy of nothing more than contempt and replacement”.

  18. traintosiberia
    traintosiberia
    August 4, 2014, 12:48 pm

    Wiesel should retweet Elizabeth Tsurkov to figure out if school would be closed tomorrow or if the knife would be removed from the hand of the butcher .
    The Tweet-
    – A new chant of the racist in Tel Aviv tonight: ” Tomorrow there no school in Gaza ,they don’t have any children left ”

    28 th July 2014 http://www.mondoweiss.net

  19. Erasmus
    Erasmus
    August 4, 2014, 1:11 pm

    QUOTATION from E.Wiesel

    “I swore never to be silent whenever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.
    We must always take sides.
    Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.
    Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

    Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel encouraging uncompromising action

    This, however, only holds, whenever Israelis and/or Jews are victimised…….

  20. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    August 4, 2014, 1:49 pm

    We are hearing the argument that if an Israeli opens fire on a child of tender years he takes a decision which is terrible and deserving of sympathy, whereas if a Palestinian leaves that same child in the firing line he takes a decision which is vicious and deserving of scorn.
    The second half presupposes that there is an available place of safety, which is questionable, more importantly that there are no circumstances so desperate that continuing resistance is more important than protecting one’s children. I walked the other day past the concrete bunker in the Mall where (I was proudly told as a child) the royal family, which had refused to evacuate its children, had intended to resist to the last if the Nazis landed: presumably, on that showing, the King had intended to keep his young daughter, now our Queen, in the thick of the battle. And there was much talk of desperate civilian resistance – we were going to show the French how it should have been done, you know – at much lower levels of society. This may all be after-event talk and romance, royalist or populist, rather than realism but it doesn’t strike me as obviously dishonourable.
    But the really significant part is the first clause about the Israeli soldier’s terrible decision. It should be obvious a) that a terrible decision is still a decision, therefore a matter of moral responsibility for the person who takes it, whatever else is going on b) that children are innocent because of tender years regardless of how the danger to them arose. Therefore the Israeli soldiers bear responsibility on their own shoulders and in their own hearts and in the judgement of the world for the children’s death. If it was a crime it was their crime. If it was a sacrifice they were the priests. The question of what the Palestinian adults were doing drops out, like some quantities in some mathematical equations – doesn’t matter. The attempt to make us concentrate on it is vain talk.

  21. LanceThruster
    LanceThruster
    August 4, 2014, 1:50 pm

    I am so bloody sick of the claim that the slaughter of innocent people by bringing down the full force of modern weaponry from every possible direction to mangle their flesh in the most horrific and violent ways is not monstrous because [we have a good reason].

  22. Steve Macklevore
    Steve Macklevore
    August 4, 2014, 1:59 pm

    Elie Wiesel – the pious bigot.
    Despicable.

  23. LuLu
    LuLu
    August 4, 2014, 2:26 pm

    Disturbing, what these idiots do not understand is the truth is all in the open. A cable leaked by wikilieaks shows the US knew that Israel was using Palestinians as human shields. They used 1200 before Human Rights stepped in is what the cable said. Israel IDF okayed this method because it said no IDF soldier was killed or injured when they did that. Hamas told people to stay in their homes bcz they have no where to go, they shoot and drop bombs at the hospitals and shelters, they shoot drop bombs and shoot them if they are in the streets. What damn choice do they have? Everything Israel says Hamas or the Palestinians are doing, is exactly what they are Guilty of, have done it or are still doing it, accusing the victims or the Resistance. I only have to say one thing… That is what a Sociopath does.

  24. eGuard
    eGuard
    August 4, 2014, 2:34 pm

    Looks like he sold his name to an organization. A bit like Simon Wiesenthal.

  25. seafoid
    seafoid
    August 4, 2014, 3:07 pm

    I don’t buy the notion of Israel as god. I think international law is a superior framework.

    • Donald
      Donald
      August 4, 2014, 3:13 pm

      “I don’t buy the notion of Israel as god.”

      Blasphemer.

  26. asda
    asda
    August 4, 2014, 4:16 pm

    a weasel he is

  27. JoshGus
    JoshGus
    August 4, 2014, 4:49 pm

    I would like to forward this article and share it via social media, but there are many glaring errors that should have been corrected by any literate editor.

    For example, the 5th paragraph’s last sentence should read “Elie Weisel’s wild.” A later paragraph should begin “Call it cognitive dissonance…”

    These types of very basic errors should be caught prior to publishing. I’m available for editing work if needed!

  28. gracie fr
    gracie fr
    August 4, 2014, 5:34 pm

    If Ellie Weisel only thought about what he said/wrote as applying to ,well, those other people …..

    “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”

    “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence
    “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides.”

    “No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them”

    “Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must — at that moment — become the center of the universe.”

  29. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    August 4, 2014, 5:37 pm

    RE: “Elie Wiesel can’t help himself. If he hasn’t debased himself and his cause enough on the subject of Israel in recent years, his latest is a stunner.” ~ Marc Ellis

    SEE: “Elie Wiesel, Moral Mercenary”, by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 2/09/10

    [EXCERPTS] Did you know morality is for sale? No? Well, as far as Elie Wiesel is concerned it is. If the Palestinians had $500,000 THEY might find moral favor in Elie’s eyes as well. You see, since Bernie Madoff blew Wiesel’s foundation assets, I guess he’s found a need to sell his scruples to the highest bidder. Last year that would’ve been John Hagee, before whose Christians United for Israel conference Wiesel pronounced the anti-Semite and homophobe his “dear pastor”:

    For delivering one speech to Hagee’s congregation, Wiesel received a check for $500,000 toward his foundation, according to Marita Styrsky, the wife of Christians United for Israel Eastern Regional Director Victor Styrsky (Christians United is Hagee’s lobbying arm)

    . . . And the next time you hear of some good deed performed by the Elie Wiesel Foundation remember it’s probably funded by a man who said that Hitler was half-Jewish and doing the work of the Lord, John Hagee.

    SOURCE – http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2010/02/09/elie-wiesel-moral-mercenary/

    P.S. WIESEL ON HIS SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL:

    “My loyalty to my people, to our people, and to Israel comes first and prevents me from saying anything critical of Israel outside Israel… As a Jew I see my role as a melitz yosher, a defender of Israel: I defend even her mistakes… I must identify with whatever Israel does – even with her errors.” ~ Elie Wiesel, “Against Silence”

  30. ivri
    ivri
    August 4, 2014, 5:41 pm

    The Jewish nation survived all these years partly because it always had a “mainstream” that’s poke with one voice. Some sometimes drifted but part of them came back. And this held all over the world. The mainstream Jewish organizations in ALL the Western countries are pro-Israel. Eli Wiesel is just an example of that – a prominent Jew who will not sell Israel under the water to gain applauds in certain quarters on questionable humanitarian grounds (given the OVERALL picture in the Mid-East)

    • annie
      annie
      August 5, 2014, 10:31 am

      The Jewish nation survived all these years partly because it always had a “mainstream” that’s poke with one voice.

      when you say “Jewish nation” i presume you’re referencing people, as opposed to the new state. and i heard that in the decades prior to founding of the state there were major divisions within mainstream jewish thought regarding statehood. wasn’t there? there wasn’t just ‘one voice’.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      August 5, 2014, 10:52 am

      “The mainstream Jewish organizations in ALL the Western countries are pro-Israel.”

      If so, this shows the mainstream Jewish organisations are morally corrupt.

      (It seems I am now channelling Moshe Menhuin. Or Mooser.)

  31. eljay
    eljay
    August 4, 2014, 10:13 pm

    … In a stirring advertising campaign … which seeks to disseminate universal Jewish values in politics, media, and culture as well as defend the State of Israel …

    Wiesel … added that, “Jews rejected child sacrifice 3500 years ago. Now it’s Hamas’ turn.”

    Jews may have rejected the sacrifice of their own children to their gawd 3,500 years ago, but for over 60 years Zio-supremacist Jews have had no problem sacrificing non-Jewish children to appease their supremacist “Jewish State”.

    They also have had no problem engaging in terrorism, ethnic cleansing, oppression, theft, occupation, colonization, destruction, torture, murder and supremacism.

    I certainly hope that this advertising campaign has a lot more to do with defending supremacist “Jewish State” than it does with “universal Jewish values”.

  32. doug
    doug
    August 4, 2014, 10:20 pm

    >> “Wiesel’s theme? “Jews rejected child sacrifice 3,000 years ago. Now it’s Hamas’ turn.””

    Between Abraham’s near sacrifice and now how many peoples did the Jews obliterate, on god’s command? Men, Women, Children, and Animals? Did Wiesel forget those? Easier to skip the unpleasantness.

    When you claim territory fee simple by God you can’t just brush by those aspects that were barbarous.

  33. traintosiberia
    traintosiberia
    August 4, 2014, 11:21 pm

    Chomsky called this guy a fraud .

  34. Helena Cobban
    Helena Cobban
    August 5, 2014, 12:51 am

    The lede here is extremely infelicitous. It makes it seem as if the intra-Jewish war of words is somehow *worse* than what is happening to the people in Gaza. That cannot be your intent??

  35. Kathryn
    Kathryn
    August 5, 2014, 9:28 am

    Wiesel states that though Abraham lifts his knife to sacrifice his own son Isaac, his hand is stayed by God’s own command, thereby rejecting child sacrifice forever. He added that, “Jews rejected child sacrifice 3500 years ago. Now it’s Hamas’ turn.” Prof. Wiesel argues that while the suffering of those in Gaza is immense and a true tragedy, the blame lies solely with Hamas who use children as human shields and stores rockets and ammunitions in nurseries, schools, hospitals, and family homes.”

    By painting a picture of an army that never attacks civilians, that indeed goes out of its way to protect them, the Big Lie says Israelis are civilized and humane, and their Palestinian opponents are inhuman monsters. The Big Lie serves the idea that the slaughter in Gaza is a clash of civilizations, a war between democracy, decency and honor on one side and Islamic barbarism on the other. And in the uncommon cases when news of atrocities penetrates to the wider public, Israel blames the destruction and casualties on Hamas.

    George Orwell in his novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” called this form of propaganda doublethink. Doublethink uses “logic against logic” and “repudiate[s] morality while laying claim to it.” The Big Lie does not allow for the nuances and contradictions that can plague conscience. It is a state-orchestrated response to the dilemma of cognitive dissonance. The Big Lie permits no gray zones. The world is black and white, good and evil, righteous and unrighteous. The Big Lie allows believers to take comfort—a comfort they are desperately seeking—in their own moral superiority at the very moment they have abrogated all morality.

    ….con’t..

    By Chris Hedges http://commondreams.org/views/2014/08/04/why-israel-lies

    • annie
      annie
      August 5, 2014, 1:32 pm

      hi Kathryn (and everyone else especially new readers and others, you know who you are) . as a general rule, we don’t publish whole articles here in the comment section. we try to practice fair use.

      on really slow days sometimes i read the whole article and pick and choose which paragraphs a reader might prefer having published. you can just imagine how many slow days we have around here. anyway, it takes up valuable time while clearing comments to edit them too. and so far today i’ve edited at least 3 articles. obviously, i don’t leave notes for all of them.

      but if everyone could remember not to publish whole articles please?

      and thanks for the great link! i sent it to phil last night. Hedges even mentions phil in the article!

      • Kathryn
        Kathryn
        August 5, 2014, 9:57 pm

        Thanks Annie, I will remember that in the future. :-)

  36. The Hasbara Buster
    The Hasbara Buster
    August 5, 2014, 9:40 am

    For long years, IDF graduation ceremonies took place in Masada, where, as the narrative has it, 900 Jews committed suicide (including the killing of their own children) rather than being captured by the Romans. That doesn’t strike me as a rejection of child sacrifice.

    Also, during Israel’s war of independence the Jews used children as young as 10 for military purposes; and they stored weapons in synagogues and nurseries.

    But then, a well-known Zionist argument consists of 2 steps:

    1) Claim that Israel meets extraordinarily high moral standards, far superior to those of any other country.

    2) When someone provides counterexamples, ask him why he expects Israel to meet higher standards than other countries.

  37. piotr
    piotr
    August 5, 2014, 4:08 pm

    Sorry, this is not a holocaust card. This is silly religious supremacy card, something that I have seen before, but I thought it is a specialty for hick rabbis (as opposed to more sophisticated clerics) writing columns for provincial outfits like Jerusalem Post.

    For starters, nothing about the Holocaust in the ad. The top point is that Jews rejected child sacrifice at some past date. Wow! What an achievement! It is not like their priests did not put assorted atrocities in their sacred as good deeds, like slaying men, women, children AND the cattle (which explains rather weird contemporary events of destroying chicken farms together with the chicken, or slaughtering donkeys). But they stopped sacrificing their sons (and, as someone pointed here, only somewhat later it was also extended to daughters). Most of us would agree that this is not impressive anymore.

    The second trope is “the battle of civilization against barbarism”. The pedigree of that theme is colonial genocide. When was the last time that “civilization” was defending itself against the barbarians? The fall of Roman Empire? After the word “civilization” was coined in 18th century, the battle was about subjugation and, if that did not work smoothly, extermination.

    The third trope is “human shields”, as the putative form of “sacrifice”. Anyone following events in the Middle East would know that an attempt to literally use “human shield” would be truly suicidal. In any case, this trope, like the rest of invectives that lace the ad is Hasbara at its least original. But the first two were relatively rare, the first I have seen in a “hick rabbi” column, and the second, in the ads of a fascistic outfit called “Emergency Committee of Israel”. One member of the latter demanded that “terrorists” from Gaza should be thrown into the sea to be eaten by “sharks and stargazers”.

    All of that is fully expected from Boteach who fits the boots of a “hick rabbi”. But did Elie Wiesel really read that add? Or his photo is used merely to present a contrast: sinister terrorist and serene Wiesel? I think someone should ask Elie.

    • eGuard
      eGuard
      August 6, 2014, 10:06 am

      piotr: nothing about the Holocaust in the ad

      He writes: “In my own lifetime, I have seen Jewish children thrown into the fire”.

  38. piotr
    piotr
    August 5, 2014, 4:34 pm

    Sorry for my ignorance. Where and when I was educated there were many texts about Holocaust (that was not called with a Greek or Hebrew name), and family traditions, and nobody would suggest to read an American on that topic. What resonates most in my memory is a sentence from a poem that is so pessimistic that it is very hard to translate: Zostanie po nas złom żelazny i głuchy, drwiący śmiech pokoleń.

    I tried to check if Wiesel, who is close to 90, could really pen such a screed. What did he write in the last few years? A bit hard to find quickly, many references about Wiesel but I did not find his fresh writing. But perhaps he could use some money:
    According to Fortune Magazine, “Nobel Peace Prize-winner Elie Wiesel’s charity reportedly lost more than $15 million [to] Madoff”. Perhaps he also invested his personal savings as well?

  39. just
    just
    August 5, 2014, 7:18 pm

    “The London Times refused to run an ad featuring Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel speaking out against Hamas’ use of children as human shields.

    The ad sponsored by The Values Network, which was founded by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, has run in The New York Times, Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, among other U.S. newspapers. The refusal was first reported by the New York Observer.

    The London Times refused the ad because “the opinion being expressed is too strong and too forcefully made and will cause concern amongst a significant number of Times readers,” according to a statement from a representative of the newspaper, the Observer reported. ”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/world/1.609096

    well, well, well!

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